JULY 16 SPY UPDATE
STOP WORRYING ABOUT OKLAHOMA PITCHING
July 16, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. – Kelsey Stevens, who recently completed her freshman season at Stanford University, has transferred to the University of Oklahoma, Sooners head coach Patty Gasso announced Tuesday. A pitcher, Stevens will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in the spring of 2014.
“We’ve watched Kelsey since she was in high school and were impressed with her skills,” Gasso said. “She refined those skills at Stanford and was very tough against us when we faced her last season. We look forward to her joining our pitching staff.
“She will be a great addition and gives us experience in the circle, which we will need. We return a strong offense next season, and I believe that will help enable Kelsey to thrive and have great success with our program.”
A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Stevens was named to the All-Pac 12 Freshman Team in 2013, going 15-7 with a 2.99 earned run average and a team-best 163 strikeouts in 136.0 innings. She made 35 appearances in the circle, 21 of which were starts, and threw 10 complete games with seven shutouts.
Stevens faced the Sooners in OU’s season opener on Feb. 8. After Oklahoma scored five runs in the top of the first, Stevens entered in the second inning and proceeded to strike out seven batters while limiting the Sooners to one run and two hits over the game’s final six innings.
In the second start of her career, she struck out a career-best 12 batters against Kentucky on Feb. 10. That game against the Wildcats marked the beginning of 36.1-innings streak where Stevens did not give up an earned run, lasting until March 1 against Iowa. On Feb. 23, Stevens threw the 10th perfect game in Cardinal history as she struck out 10 in a win over Virginia.
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association named Stevens their Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week on Feb. 26. In addition to her perfect game, Stevens was 3-0 with a pair of complete game shutouts, a 0.00 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 19 innings of work. She allowed No. 13 Georgia, Virginia and No. 23 Florida State to total just seven hits and a .115 combined batting average in those three games.
During conference play, Stevens picked up wins over then-No. 24 Oregon and then-No. 14 Washington, while also matching her career high in strikeouts in a one-hitter against then-No. 12 Cal.
The Sooners return Georgia Casey, an Australian player, an accomplished infielder, hitter and occasional pitcher.
THE RICKETTS ROLLOUT
Oklahoma Pitching Ace Keilani Ricketts Signs with the USSSA Pride
Pride and NPF are pulling out all the stops to herald Keilani Ricketts introduction to professional softball – with a generous slice of ESPN Time. Ironically, Keilani makes her NPF debut on the same weekend the USA national team plays in the Canadian Open – without a pitcher of her stature. Keilani’s deal is an estimated six figures.
|Keilani Ricketts (Courtesy of OU Softball)
Kissimmee, Fl – July 15, 2013 – Keilani Ricketts, Oklahoma pitching ace and two-time collegiate player of the year, signed a three-year deal with the USSSA Pride Tuesday.
Ricketts joins the Pride after leading the Sooners to the 2013 Women’s College World Series Championship in June. Named the Most Outstanding Player of the Series, Ricketts tallied 39 strikeouts in 31 innings. She also had a strong presence at the plate, driving in all four runs in the championship game against Tennessee.
“Keilani is as good as it gets coming out of college and she’s a perfect fit for the Pride family,” said USSSA Pride General Manager Don DeDonatis. “Keilani is an extremely talented athlete and is a proven threat at the plate as well as an extraordinary pitcher. Having said that, what is most important to USSSA is the positive impact and influence we know Keilani will have on the sport of fastpitch softball, USSSA and the NPF.”
Ricketts has racked up plenty of honors during her storied career at Oklahoma. Most recently, she was 2013 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and All-Big 12 Defensive Team honoree. Over her career, Ricketts was a four-time All American while setting career records in wins, strikeouts, walks drawn, complete games, innings pitched, appearances, starts, and shutouts. She was the recipient of the 2013 Honda Cup, awarded to the top female college athlete. She is the only Sooner in any sport to ever receive the prestigious award.
The 2013 stats put an exclamation point on Ricketts’ career in the pitching circle. In her senior season at Oklahoma, she netted 16 shutouts, the second most in the country. She also ranked third in wins and sixth in strikeouts with 350. She ended her career at Oklahoma with an overall record of 133-35, the third highest winning percentage in school history.
“Keilani Ricketts represents the best of the best of the class of 2013. She, along with our other talented NPF rookies represent the future of professional softball.” said NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf. “I am beyond thrilled to have colleges most decorated player join the NPF and I am very much looking forward to seeing her continue to grow as an athlete as she competes with, and against the world’s very best softball players.”
Ricketts will be reunited with former Oklahoma catcher, Jessica Shults, who signed with the Pride in June. She will make her NPF debut for the Pride against the NY / NJ Comets during the upcoming weekend. Saturday’s 2:00 EST game and Sunday’s 3:00 EST game will be aired live on ESPN2.
Fico, Mack Toss Shutouts During NPF Wins
BATON ROUGE – Former LSU All-American pitchers Rachele Fico and Brittany Mack fired shutout performances to collect their second wins of the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) season as the Akron Racers took three of four games from the New York/New Jersey Comets last weekend.
Mack came away with five strikeouts against one walk and stranded seven baserunners during her Saturday start. She was touched up for three hits during her five shutout innings and improved her record to 2-1 for the season. Offensively, Mack was supported by Brigette Del Ponte and Sam Marder home runs during the 6-2 win.
Fico capped the Saturday doubleheader sweep for the Racers and sat down the first six batters she faced. She surrendered only three hits and registered three strikeouts versus two walks over her five spotless frames. With the win, Fico evened her mark at 2-2 for the season. Akron’s offense pounded out 12 hits sparked by a pair of Del Ponte dingers en route to the 9-0 victory.
At the halfway point of the regular season, Akron has tallied a 10-14 record and is 7.5 games behind the Chicago Bandits in the NPF standings. The Racers open up a four-game set with the Bandits starting Thursday.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
TENNESSEE HIRES PATRICK LAWSON
“We are excited about hiring Patrick Lawson as our director of operations,” Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. “Patrick replaces Lindsay Schutzler Bell, who moved to Texas to be with her husband. Patrick has done an amazing job as the event director for softball the past several years. As part of the University event management staff, he has a thorough knowledge of the athletic department and its procedures. He is an intelligent problem solver who knows how to get things done.”
Lawson should be a familiar face to Lady Vol softball fans as he has orchestrated UT softball regular-season and postseason games in recent years. He has played a major role in producing enjoyable and safe game day experiences at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium and he has been vital to behind-the-scenes coordination for Tennessee’s appearances in the SEC Tournament, the NCAA Regionals, the NCAA Super Regionals and the Women’s College World Series.
Lawson earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management and his master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Tennessee. Lawson, his wife, Caroline, and daughters, Maddie (10) and Olivia (6), live in Knoxville.
Kacey Friedman Named Director of Softball Operations at South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Gamecock head softball coach Beverly Smith announced today that
Kacey Friedman has taken on the title of director of softball operations.
Friedman has worked with Smith and the Gamecocks the past two years as an
administrative assistant, handling all facets of the day-to-day office work,
while she also worked with the equestrian team in the same role in 2012-13. With
the new title, Friedman will concentrate solely on her softball duties,
including coordinating the team and coaches’ travel, team meals and other
duties. A Doylestown, Pa., native, Friedman earned her degree in sport and entertainment
management from South Carolina in 2013. “I am pleased that Kacey will be joining our staff full time as the director of softball operations,” said Smith. “Kacey has done a great job over the last two
seasons managing the day-to-day operations. She’s the reason that everything
runs smoothly for our team on the road and at home. She is a pleasure to work
with everyday, and I am excited to have a South Carolina alum on our staff.”
The Gamecocks posted their first winning season in 2013, going 34-25 and making
the finals of the Austin Regional in the 2013 NCAA Division I Softball